Café Dupont, a downtown Birmingham restaurant known for fine dining, is normally closed on Mondays.
But owner Chef Chris Dupont opened up last night for a free private dinner for the staff, residents and program participants of Brother Bryan Mission.
Although Café Dupont was recently included in AL.com’s list of “Alabama’s Most Expensive Restaurants,” the tab for Brother Bryan Mission was zero….
Brother Bryan Mission through most of its history has been a shelter for homeless men, but now focuses on addiction rehabilitation programs.
Dupont first invited Brother Bryan Mission to dine at his restaurant last year. Since then, he’s hired two residents who have been through the mission’s rehabilitation program as dishwashers, Etheredge said. The mission has a 9-month drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, and a back-to-work follow-up program. Residents can continue to live at the mission for two years during the work program.
Etheredge said that more than just a great meal from a prestigious restaurant, the men got a full serving of dignity from Dupont.
“He was gracious,” Etheredge said. “He seems to enjoy doing it and our guys enjoyed it. It’s a fantastic treat for us. For him to treat our men with the dignity that he treated them with, that made it special.”
As the nuns cared for their guests, Laub followed them with her camera — it’s her way. Then, even after her mother-in-law died in late September, she found herself returning to Rosary again and again, still wanting to capture something of the kindness that her family had found there. She asked the nuns to sit for portraits, in which she stripped away the background to show their eyes and faces in clear focus. “I wanted them to be quiet,” she said, “so their power could come through.”
The nuns in particular had moved her. She was struck by their tenderness with the dying, how they painted women’s fingernails and combed their hair, changed them into fresh nightgowns and arranged flowers in their rooms. “This is how dying should be,” Laub says. “It doesn’t feel like a place of death. It feels like a place of living.”
I wrote about Rose Hawthorne in the the Loyola Kids Book of Heroes. A couple of snippets of pages:
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It’s easy and justifiable to despair about the current relationship of the Church and the arts, but here’s a glimmer of hope: a brand new piece, commissioned by a church, utilizing the gifts of talented artists: A Rose in Winter : An Oratorio on the Life of St. Rita. My friend Matthew Lickona has written the libretto for composer Frank LaRocca. Some tidbits:
A Rose in Winter unfolds in two parallel stories: that of Saint Rita of Cascia, set in 15th century Italy, and a second one set in the present day, focusing on two pilgrims, Fideo and Tomas, whose chance meeting in Cascia during Holy Week prompts a series of tense dialogues about the scope and limits of religious belief…
…The stories of A Rose in Winter unfold in a variety of ways: choral narration, solo ariosos, and – in some of the most gripping moments – dialogues. At the heart of Saint Rita’s spiritual journey is an encounter with Jesus Christ in a vision that comes to her on Good Friday. It is in the aftermath of her dialogue with him that she receives her partial stigmata – a wound from the Crown of Thorns that she carries on her brow for the last 15 years of her life.
An interview with LaRocca is here. The piece premieres next weekend in Dallas.
To create sacred music for the liturgy, the composer has to internalize a discipline and restraint that is quite foreign to the present-day understanding of the “artistic temperament.” Complete subjective freedom, the breaking of restraints, unrestricted projection of personality and ‘originality’ are values inculcated into aspiring artists during their training and have been since the 19th century, reaching a new level of radicalism in the early 20th century.
This kind of approach is antithetical to authentic liturgical music, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has pointed out in many different reflections on sacred music. Pope Pius X, in his motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini, laid out with great clarity a very different set of criteria: “Sacred music, being an integral part of the liturgy, is directed to the general object of the liturgy, namely, the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful.” It must have the qualities of holiness, beauty and universality. The music must not be an end in itself as it may be—quite legitimately—in the concert hall. Music in the liturgy takes on the role of a sacramental; it must prepare the faithful to receive grace and dispose them to cooperate with it. To do this, it must be fused to the Logos, the Word, in an intimate and filial relationship, not drawing undue attention to itself and thereby distracting from the primacy of the Word.
As Benedict XVI has taught, sacred music must be Incarnational, that is, in the same way that the Incarnated Son on the Cross draws up all Creation to the Father, sacred music in the liturgy must self-sacrificially draw the faithful more deeply into the Word, the Logos.
Speaking of the arts…if you or anyone you know is into the adult coloring-book craze – or have skilled kid-colorers – remember that there are some high quality Catholic-themed resources out there.
And now Matthew Alderman has published a book of coloring pages derived from his artwork – available here.
See you next week, when I will be in full Trip Buyers-Regret-Mode…..
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!